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  1. The following three major challenges have to be met if a family business is to flourish for 100 years and more.
  2. The following three major challenges have to be met if a family business were to flourish for 100 years and more.

Which is the correct way to construct a conditional sentense?

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    In your context, #2 isn't valid. Note that If the plan were to work... would normally be followed by a clause defining some consequence of the plan working (we're postulating that it is going to work in some hypothetical future). Whereas If the plan is to work... would normally be followed by some prerequisite / requirement (without which the plan won't work). – FumbleFingers Jun 27 at 14:58
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EDIT:

You should use the first one, i.e. "The following three major challenges have to be met if a family business is to flourish for 100 years and more."


Since a family business to flourish for 100 years and more is not impossible, you should be using Future Real Conditional explained here: Future Conditional Forms | ENGLISH PAGE

Future Real Conditional

FORM

[If / When ... simple present ..., ... simple future ...]

[... simple future ... if / when ... simple present ...]

Notice that there is no future in the if- or when-clause.

An example:

I am going to read if there is nothing on TV.

  • Can you rewrite this answer to make it perfectly clear which of OP's sentences is correct, and why? Even as a native speaker it took me several readings to understand what you are trying to say. Also you might provide a counter-example to explain what would need to be different to make the other sentence correct. – Andrew Jun 27 at 15:15
  • You are very kind to offer your ideas, but you do not answer the question. – Mike Philip Jun 27 at 15:15
  • I can't really understand this answer, but it seems to be suggesting that OP should use is going to instead of plain "Present as Future" is to. It's possible to do this, but by no means necessary. Imho we'd normally use the simpler form, but offhand I'm not sure if that could ever make any difference to the meaning. – FumbleFingers Jun 27 at 15:19
  • @FumbleFingers. No, not is going to, because "if + simple present", and is going to is simple future, not simple present. He should use the first sentence in the question, which is is to. I've updated the answer. – SP999 Jun 27 at 15:38
  • I see your point, though I'm not convinced it's meaningful to talk about a "Simple Future" tense in English (basically, we only have Past and Present; anything else has to be expressed using modal / auxiliary "helper" verbs). But it still seems to me the short answer for OP is that example #2 is invalid because it switches from Present tense have to be met into Past tense were to flourish. It would be fine if the former were to be changed to *had to be met. – FumbleFingers Jun 27 at 16:13

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